̶S̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶O̶d̶d̶ ̶U̶n̶u̶s̶u̶a̶l̶ ̶W̶e̶i̶r̶d̶ (Freak Flag Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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Pigfarmer Jr
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̶S̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶O̶d̶d̶ ̶U̶n̶u̶s̶u̶a̶l̶ ̶W̶e̶i̶r̶d̶ (Freak Flag Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:00 pm

Peculiar turn of phrase, don't you think? Let's get some reviews in, shall we?
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Re: ̶S̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶O̶d̶d̶ ̶U̶n̶u̶s̶u̶a̶l̶ ̶W̶e̶i̶r̶d̶ (Freak Flag Reviews)

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:01 pm

You can listen to or download my album for free at:
http://tcelliott.bandcamp.com/

As of 30 March 2019
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Current streak: 62

Ad astra per alia porci - Steinbeck
(To the stars on the wings of a pig.)
Lunkhead
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Post by Lunkhead » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:15 pm

Songs posted! Thanks again for the art and review thread.
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jb
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Re: ̶S̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶O̶d̶d̶ ̶U̶n̶u̶s̶u̶a̶l̶ ̶W̶e̶i̶r̶d̶ (Freak Flag Reviews)

Post by jb » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:47 am

Third Cat
  • I like the delay on the vocal.
  • Chorus is too short.
  • You get into a groove on the second verse, and the performance is like 2x better than the first verse/chorus.
  • Short as it is, I really like that chorus melody and arrangement a lot. So I wish there was more of it. Another couplet would have been a great improvement.
Pigfarmer Jr
  • I like the heavy guitar, though when the full arrangement kicks in it seems to get a lot thinner.
  • I really don't know why you have the snare in stereo.
  • I like the hat break a lot, though I wish it dropped into something more impactful.
  • I guess I like the effect of going up in half steps to mimic "raising" the flag, but it kind of winds up meh.
Fussy Britches
  • I'm listening in nice headphones, so the difference between this track and the rest of the field is significant. I would have been shocked if that hadn't been the case. So, do you get credit for living up to your credentials? ;) Yeah, of course you freaking do. In Song Fight you don't get credit for only having one leg, but you get hella credit for having 8 legs. (of course, if you suck with 8 legs you get EXTRA DEMERITS.)
  • I think the verse is too complicated, though it is at least a contrast from the drawn-out lines and melismas of the chorus.
  • I like the chorus a lot, sonically. Nice melody and thickness, and I wonder if your voice suffered from singing that way... or is it an effect that gets that kinda raspy thing?
  • Bridge is cool too.
  • Only thing I'd tweak is making that verse arrangement more purposeful, maybe?
  • It's all cool. Nice job, natch.
Dimetrodon
  • Your panning decisions are making my eyes cross.
  • Levels are wrong so the instruments are burying the vocals and I can't make them out.
  • I hate that electric guitar tone.
  • I feel like this would have come across a lot better if you were screaming the words as if you had my neck in your hands and were shaking back and forth. Then I woulda done a self-defense move to break the hold and dive for the high-mid EQ knob on that guitar track
Sockpuppet
  • Need EQ on that cello "bass" track to make the notes more defined. Keep the reverb though.
  • It's a little Soul Coughing eh? I like the parade of scenarios, the lyrics are nicely evocative.
  • A couple more takes would have helped in spots to get the vocal rhythms more exact. I know you threw this together last minute-- ref Song Fight One-Leg Rule
Paco del Stinko
  • Dad-joke shtick! Heh.
  • Maybe bring the vox just one hair forward so I can hear them just one smidge better.
  • I like the tail-off end of that first section, that's pretty cool.
  • Have you ever done a collab with Roymond? I mean, your musical sensibilities are in sync.
  • Those backing vocals and harmonies flash me back to Zappa. It's a groovy little number.
  • Oh I like the synth bass thing.
  • This track is all about the musical textures and ear candy I think. That fake kazoo solo thing is pretty rad too.
  • I love the attitude of the lyrics. Look at me as I wave my freak flag high!
  • There's a group in Atlanta called the Seed n' Feed Marching Abominable. They're basically an amateur marching band, but that doesn't capture their grandeur. This song reminds me of them.


Balance Lost
  • I like the little synthy note at the start.
  • Sections at the start are a little disjointed though.
  • I wish the two vocal lines were more precisely performed together.
  • Feels super 80's which is kind of cool.
  • Oh I like that synth bass that pops in, and it works well with the backing synths and guitar.
  • I think the chorus is nice.
  • I kinda wish you'd just drive your points in the arrangement more firmly. "A future that holds the unknown". Really nail that.
  • The fade-out is a bit clunky, seems like stuff just stops and gets softer before the track actually fades out? Kinda weird but I'm listening critically, otherwise nobody'd care.
Unionvillains
  • Nothin' wrong with a good ol' fashioned lo-fi guitar and vocal songfighting.
  • Probably should've had the singer closer to the mic than she was, so she's more over the guitar than beside it.
  • I like the song, the rhythm-guitar hooks with the step-wise chord shifting are interesting enough.
  • I think this recording would have really KILLED if it was a roomful of people all singing either the whole thing or even just the chorus, and clapping on 2 and 4.
"Recently I've found the mic makes a difference." - AJOwens
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fluffy
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Post by fluffy » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:24 am

My first time entering in nearly 3 years, so I figure I should also review for the first time in who knows how long. Order is just what the front page shuffle gave me.

Dimetrodon

I can't really make out the vocals because they're so far back in the mix. The guitars are also really messy. Are the lyrics about saying that people don't need to be visibly queer? Or is it an indictment against folks who want to be an individual, just like everyone else? Either way I'm not a fan of the message.

Third Cat

I like the overall sound design on this, nice and refreshing to hear something that isn't just typical rock guitar + vocals these days. Lyrics seem a bit muddy to me and could use a bit of midrange boost I think. Love the chord progression and the song being from the perspective of someone who doesn't feel like they fit in.

Balance Lost

Yay, something in 6/8! I'm always a sucker for non-4/4 time signatures. I'm not a fan of the vocal doubling. The lyrics are weirdly optimistic to me. On the whole I like the song.

Unionvillains

Turn up the vocals please! Also maybe pan the guitar to one side and the vocals to the other, to give them a bit more separation. Great chord progression and phrasing. I can't understand a thing you're singing except "synergy."

John Benjamin Band

Oh dang you're always so good at mixing and singing clearly and stuff. I feel like the intro drags on a little long but when the song kicks in it gets pretty great. The lyrics seem pretty meaningful to me, too — eff the dinosaurs with their outdated attitudes towards society and how things are changing. Life is a moving target, embrace it. Ending feels really abrupt though.

Pigfarmer Jr

Reasonably good mix on this, and I like the contrast between the various sections. Everything feels really flat to me though, especially the drums. The song feels really short. Not necessarily a bad thing.

Fussy Britches

Great production on this relatively straightforward rock track that has just enough variation in it to keep my ear interested. I like the lyrics, yeah you can fly whatever flag you want and are comfortable with. And you can push things too but it's not necessary. Find your own way and do what feels right.

Paco del Stinko

Fun chord progression, decent straightforward production, I should read the lyrics to figure out what you're singing. The clean guitar sounds a bit out-of-tune to me.

jb wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:47 am
Sockpuppet
  • Need EQ on that cello "bass" track to make the notes more defined. Keep the reverb though.
  • It's a little Soul Coughing eh? I like the parade of scenarios, the lyrics are nicely evocative.
  • A couple more takes would have helped in spots to get the vocal rhythms more exact. I know you threw this together last minute-- ref Song Fight One-Leg Rule
That's actually an upright bass loop from the Logic loops library, but I did have trouble with EQing it all the same. And I thought about fixing the vocal timing using flextime or whatever but I thought I'd try for a more natural delivery for once. I actually did an embarrassingly large number of takes on this and couldn't get it quite right.

But yeah in recent years I've been mostly doing instrumental shit for video games and I'm really rusty at this kind of songwriting. Gotta get back into it.
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jb
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Post by jb » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:30 am

Ha, shows how knowing just a little about someone's process causes one to make incorrect assumptions.

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lichenthroat
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Post by lichenthroat » Thu Jun 13, 2019 5:17 pm

fluffy wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:24 am
Dimetrodon
I can't really make out the vocals because they're so far back in the mix. The guitars are also really messy. Are the lyrics about saying that people don't need to be visibly queer? Or is it an indictment against folks who want to be an individual, just like everyone else? Either way I'm not a fan of the message.
I was definitely not trying to make any statement regarding visible queerness. I consciously avoided discussion of sexuality to prevent such an association from being made; apparently this was insufficiently clear, so I apologize.

What I was trying to address in the lyrics is the concept that conforming to an ideal of nonconformity is significantly different from doing something that is genuinely culturally transformative. My intent was to illustrate this point through the opening references to biker gangs and punkers, which are two groups that perceive themselves as individualists, but who tend to be quite orthodox members, both in outlook and appearance, of their own communities, which tend to be homogeneous. The reference to Leon Czolgosz, who shot William McKinley to demonstrate his credibility to the anarchist community (rather than out of much of a philosophical devotion to the cause of anarchism), was intended to illustrate the potential dangers of desire for this kind of conformity; the result of this incident was Czolgosz’s own execution, followed by a long-lasting government crackdown on the community he had been trying to impress.

During recording, we changed the lyrics a little to make the phrasing less awkward, and I didn’t realize until after I had submitted the song that we had unintentionally introduced ambiguity into the interpretation. In particular, the chorus ended up appearing to be a lot more anti-weirdness than I had in mind; the intended idea was more that weirdness, independent of context, is neither inherently desirable nor undesirable.

The closing reference to Flannery O’Connor’s short story “Revelation,” which ends with the fairly bigoted narrator having a vision of all the social outcasts she looks down upon preceding her into Heaven, was intended to summarize one of the main themes of the lyrics: that the genuinely marginalized people who have been rejected by various human communities are undeserving of such treatment and are likely, in fact, to be more morally worthy than members of the communities who have rejected them.
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Pigfarmer Jr
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Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:13 am

jb wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:47 am
Pigfarmer Jr
  • I like the heavy guitar, though when the full arrangement kicks in it seems to get a lot thinner.
  • I really don't know why you have the snare in stereo.
  • I like the hat break a lot, though I wish it dropped into something more impactful.
  • I guess I like the effect of going up in half steps to mimic "raising" the flag, but it kind of winds up meh.
The hat break was kind of a compromise. I couldn't get the "If 6 was 9" drum feel correct in the limited time I had for the drums. (Mostly due to the timing of the guitars in the break.) So I ended up going for a War Pigs feel instead.

The half step raise was originally suppose to mimic the intro riff from "The Wind Cries Mary" but the timing got mussed up a couple of times and I ended up just rocking it out.

The lyric is just a reworking of those in "If 6 wad 9" and the music is basically a bad rip off of Hendrix, although I did intentionally try to make it my own (to the point that it lost some of it's shine, imo.) In other words, this was kind of a tribute to Jimi Hendrix (my favorite freak.) All that being said, it's sticking in my ears today after listening again so apparently I like it at least subconsciously.
You can listen to or download my album for free at:
http://tcelliott.bandcamp.com/

As of 30 March 2019
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Current streak: 62

Ad astra per alia porci - Steinbeck
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vowlvom
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Post by vowlvom » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:20 am

Mildly tipsy reviews between Nur Ein mixes! I listened a couple of times when they were posted and now listening again as I write.

Balance Lost - love the music on this one, there are a load of interesting jangly guitar layers that would put this musically on the Balance Lost top tier for me. Vocally I don't think it's necessarily your strongest, there are a few bits of slightly sloppy layering that slightly bugged on me on a hyper-critical level. Lyrics are pretty great, I've noticed that I'm more likely to be won over by a killer couplet or two than the message of the lyric as a whole, and as such I'm very much here for "I've got just as much right / to piss in this alleyway". My favourite from this fight, probably no surprise as I'm a long-time fan, but good to hear you keeping up the high standards!

Dimetrodon - I have to agree with jb that the (real) guitar tone is horrible, and there are various other (intentional or unintentional) decisions here that I wouldn't have made in a million years. And yet! There's something I really like about this, especially the bits where the clean (fake?) guitars and the distorted (real?) ones interact. It feels like a lost b-side from some weirdo post-punk band and I'm into it! I'm glad you posted the extra explanation for the lyric, I enjoy the writing as always but I don't think the message you were going for fully comes across without the extra context.

Fussy Britches - I assume this is some other combination of Gert members? The verse sounds like Smalltown Mike, but my usual complaints about the melody hitting the same two notes over and over are slightly less bothersome than usual here (again, this is only a personal issue - you have a style and are totally justified in sticking to it, it seems to work for most people better than it does me). The chorus is super impressive all-out rock. I have some genre bias but I think I might have to vote for this anyway because it's so well done.

John Benjamin Band - really anthemic. I have some mixed feelings about the mix - there are some phasey sounds in the guitar that are probably intentional but don't totally work for me (again a personal thing, I tend to enjoy more natural guitar tones a little more I think) but they do sound well-suited to the track. The vocals seem very clean in contrast to the fuzzed out guitars and bass which again is probably a conscious decision but I feel like it leaves the vocals very disconnected from the music in a way that doesn't totally work for me. Still one of my favourites from this fight though and a definite vote.

Paco Del Stinko - I totally forgot about the optional criteria until your intro, haha. Following on from comments on guitar tone in the Dimetrodon / JB comments, yours are always amazing and this song is no exception. I feel like it's been a few Paco songs since I've run into a melody that has really caught my attention though and this is in that same category. I like the song on the whole but it doesn't really stick in my head. The synth bass stuff is really abrasive, but in a very enjoyable way, and that (pitch-shifted?) guitar solo is absolutely filthy. Lyrics are mostly fine with a few killer lines, I absolutely love "I'm an open pack of Skittles"!

Pigfarmer Jr - I wouldn't have picked up on the Hendrix inspiration, I'm such a bad appreciator of Classic Rock. This is definitely working at the extreme end of my retro-rock genre bias but I can appreciate the solid guitar work and I second the love for those drum fills. Not your best vocal in terms of timing, although it's not too bad either.

Sockpuppet - the bass definitely feels like it could be a bit punchier but once the guitars come in I really like the sound of this. I like your laid-back melodic semi-rapped vocals most of the time although the lines that shake up the timing (it's just polite / mmm yeah!) don't feel like they quite pay off, for reasons I'm struggling to articulate. This really stands out from the pack of songs this week though and it made me smile, so another vote I think.

Third Cat - love that electro-intro and generally really loving your synthwork here. Some of your vocals are kinda loose rhythmically, especially in the first verse, which I think is possibly intentional but doesn't fully work for me - I like the second verse onwards a lot more where it feels like you've warmed up a bit. Chorus has a strong melody that sticks in my head, and there are so many cool production touches here, I think I'm gonna vote for this one too.

Unionvillains - I can't get past the recording on this one really. I don't mind a solid one-take recording but the vocals really fade into the background here and I struggle to focus on the melody or lyrics. It's clear that you've got some good songwriting skills, I like the bits where the guitar rhythm changes up, and I can hear enough of your vocal to hear that you've got a good voice, but you really need to position the mic so that we can hear your voice better!

Interesting pack of songs, I wasn't really a fan of this title but I like the places you all took it!
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